East Lansing, MI – Keith Appling scored a game-high 19 points and No. 10 Michigan State shut down No. 22 Wisconsin, 58-43, to keep its hopes of a Big Ten regular season title alive.
Michigan State had dropped three in a row coming in -- all to ranked opponents -- and was seemingly out of the conference title race.
But after Thursday's convincing win, which saw the Badgers shoot a pitiful 29 percent from the field, the Spartans (23-7, 12-5 Big Ten) can gain a share of the Big Ten crown on the final day of the regular season with a win over Northwestern and a Michigan victory over front-running Indiana on Saturday.
"It's my dream that this program is to the point where every year in the last week, week and a half, last two, three games, we still have a mathematical chance to win a championship," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said.
Gary Harris chipped in 11 points and Adreian Payne totaled nine points and 11 rebounds in the rout.
Wisconsin (20-9, 11-5) has dropped five straight against Michigan State and eight in a row in East Lansing. The Badgers were done in by lengthy scoring droughts in their lowest scoring output of the season, including a seven- minute stretch early in the second half that turned a five-point deficit into a devastating 21-point hole.
Ben Brust led the Badgers with 10 points, while Ryan Evans finished with nine points and 11 rebounds in the setback.
A typically slow-paced first half between these rivals ended with Travis Trice draining a 3-pointer to give the hosts a 25-18 lead.
Jared Berggren opened the second-half scoring with a jumper, but the Badgers missed their next 12 shots as Michigan State began pulling away.
"You just can't have those spells," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said.
Appling highlighted the game-altering 16-0 flurry with a pair of three-point plays, the last pushing the margin to 41-20 with under 12 1/2 minutes to go.
The closest it got from there was the final score.
Trice recorded six of Michigan State's 16 steals ... The Spartans scored 23 points off 17 turnovers ... Michigan State improved to 16-1 at Breslin Center ... Wisconsin fell to 4-6 in true road games ... Wisconsin plays its final regular season game at Penn State on Saturday.